Anaheim - Thursday, August 29, 1996

Today was the first day of the Science Fiction convention and it started out a bit rough as I ended up sleeping in until right when the first panel I was going to attend started. It was an interesting discussion on the future of law enforcement with a number of representatives from various agencies. I thought it was interesting that they thought the most important thing that is needed for better policing and for future policing is the need for improved communications. This is true in almost every area of our current community I have begun to realize over the last few years. Let me give an example, take racism, years ago when this really started to heat up it could all have been avoided if there had been adequate communication between the races to foster the understanding that is required (you are the same as I am, for example). Improved communication dispels misunderstandings and @improves productivity. I see this more and more in my volunteer efforts at Blue Sky. There are groups that ignore or choose not to listen to the work of others and because of this it seems like perhaps the whole group is dying (you kill the mind and the body goes with it).

Anyway, enough of the philosophy, the next discussion was on advancements in Science and there were a number of pre-eminent Science Fiction authors to hear Dr. Robert Forward speak. I found it interesting that things were dismissed only years ago are now being seriously discussed. For example, today the discussion was about time travel and three different methods were discussed and seem to be theoretically sound, albeit a bit beyond our currently technology but the mechanics are sound. During this discussion it was mentioned that the speed of light can be exceeded in certain circumstances (it was proven that if you can go faster than the speed of light you can create a time machine). The discussion was lively and very interesting, something which I have come to expect at these conventions.

I attended the next session out of interest about what one of the authors I read would say about the subject “Might makes Right” (referring to military themes in Science Fiction and whether it is “right” or “wrong”). Unfortunately he did not attend but the remaining panellists discussed a number of interesting things pointing out that it really does make a difference if the author has some experience as a soldier doing what he/she is writing about. During the discussion an amusing (or perhaps not so amusing) statement was made: “Canada has no natural enemies, except, of course, for Quebec”. This got a lot of laughs but actually made me feel kind of sad at the same time. It is interesting to realize that people seem to realize that Quebec is not necessarily speaking for Canada as a whole who wants to remain that way. (Gosh, a heck of a lot of philosophy for one day, isn't it?)

Next, and during the day I also had a chance to spend LOTS of money in the “Dealer's Room” where they sell books and other things having to do with Fantasy, Horror and Science Fiction. I was lucky in that I found a first edition of a favourite author and I also got unsigned versions of books to get signed here at the convention.

After I dumped my baggage I now found on my person, I went to the opening ceremonies which I found amusing but with no substance whatsoever, I was expecting a series of speeches from the guests of honor and the like, but nothing. There were a great number of people there though, about a thousand, in the Anaheim Convention Center Arena. After the opening, we all headed over to one of the two hotels immediately attached (well, might as well be) for a ice-cream “social” where we had all the ice cream we could eat and also talk to a few of the other cities wanting to hold future Worldcons (and get free ice-cream toppings from them – my favourite had to have been the Mars bar pieces).

After this, I figured I would head over to the ConSuite which is a hotel room hosted by the WorldCon itself (that is, the LA Con III group) with things to eat, drink, and see. Instead, I ended up in the Internet Suite-for 3 hours reading the electronic mail that. I had gathered over the last few days and fixing a few problems. The nice thing is that all the computers there, about 20 or so, were connected directly to the Internet (the world-wide computer network which I use on a daily basis to communicate with others) and were provided free of charge, 24 hours a day while the convention is in operation. While there, I chatted with Victor, a friend that drove with me in that trip to Edmonton I mentioned, and he gave me a list of things to look for, nice guy! Hopefully tomorrow or the next day. Ended up after midnight when I left and I just had time to drive somewhere to grab some takeout food before now getting to bed.

All in all, a very interesting day, if not relaxing. Tomorrow promises to be even busier, the thing that is really annoying is that many of the most interesting things to do are all at the same time and then there are other times when there is nothing to see or do, part of the problems of scheduling I think.

⇒ Continue to Anaheim - Friday, August 30, 1996